Everybody’s doing it—releasing VoIP applications for the iPhone, that is.
At last week’s VoiceCon in Orlando, Texas-based Sipera Systems became the latest, with its SLiC (Secure Live Communications) iPhone application—a followup to SLiC clients for Symbian and Windows Mobile devices released in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Enterprise VoIPplanet had an opportunity to speak with Sipera’s vice president of marketing, Adam Boone, after the show and, as we suspected, there’s lot more to this iPhone app than your typical “save money on long distance and cellular calls.”
Essentially, the SLiC system extends all the features of the enterprise PBX and/or unified communications applications out to mobile employees carrying smartphones, but it does so without compromising enterprise IT security.
A security appliance sitting in the enterprise DMZ is the link, providing secure authentication and an encrypted application-layer tunnel back out to the device.
Boone explained: “If I’m carrying my iPhone, and it has this software on it, what’ll happen is the iPhone will be authenticated back into the enterprise, using our solution, and that will enable it to be viewed by the PBX or call server as if it’s exactly like another endpoint—just as if it’s a desk phone, or a soft client, a video conferencing terminal, or any other authorized endpoint in the enterprise.”
Once authenticated, the smartphone then has access to the full range of server and PBX features: extension dialing, directory services, blacklisting of calls, forwarding, and the like. “From the user perspective, it’s exactly as if I’m carrying my desk phone,” Boone told VoIPplanet.com.
In contrast to mobile UC providers like DiVitas Networks and Agito Networks, whose main focus is managing the handoff between cellular and Wi-Fi networks—”which of course is extremely important, ” Boone noted—Sipera’s focus is on extending UC capabilities out to any endpoint “with complete security,” as well as full enterprise IT management control.
While the goal of the SLiC solution is not primarily cost savings, that is a not-inconsiderable side benefit. Boone spoke of one European customer who had deployed the solution for its some 5,000 highly mobile employees.
“These employees frequently roam from country to country, and so this company was experiencing very high roaming costs as they switched networks and crossed borders,” he said. “With this solution, what they’re able to do is they’re off-loading one million minutes a month onto VoIP. That’s one million minutes that previously were roaming cellular minutes that they’re not paying for any more.”
Not bad for a security application.